Intersectionality: An Overview
Intersectionality is most simply defined as the overlap of minority identities. For example, a woman who is both African American and bisexual would be a part of three different minority groups: gender (as a woman), race (as a woman of color), and sexuality (as a part of the LGBTQ+ community). The combination of different identities drastically increases an individual’s likelihood of discrimination, marginalization, and harassment.
Particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and individuals who identify as a woman are much more susceptible to oppression than the rest of the community. This is because of the oppression combined with being a part of more than one marginalized demographic.
LGBTQ+ Celebrity Activists
One of the biggest issues in the modern LGBTQ+ community is the lack of representation in the media. Thankfully, many different LGBTQ+ individuals have become BIG in the public eye, and many have used their fame to bring attention, awareness, and support to the community. Especially in the last ten to fifteen years, LGBTQ+ actors, singers, leaders, and activists, in general, have made their way into the media, which really helps the community to have a voice and the proper representation.
Continued Marginalization: Societal Expectations
Although the LGBTQ+ community has made tremendous strides in the fight for equal rights in the last decade, there is still quite a long way to go. Gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court through the Equality Act in 2015, which was a huge step for LGBTQ+ couples. However, members of the LGBTQ+ community are still being discriminated against and oppressed on a daily basis. There are people who are purposely cruel and belittling to LGBTQ+, but there are also a lot of cultural and societal norms that contribute to the discrimination of and stigma surrounding the community.
One of the most common societal norms that are prevalent in our culture is heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is best defined as the general assumption that everyone is heterosexual, or straight. This has been produced by the mindset that being straight is “normal”, while any other sexuality is strange or unfamiliar. These messages are supported by the media. There are rarely LGBTQ+ individuals portrayed in movies, television shows, commercials, and other mass media. Representation has gotten better, but it’s not always accurate or shown in a positive manner. (more…)
Being Transgender: The Basics
Identifying as transgender doesn’t necessarily mean that you would like to have or have had some kind of sex change. Quite simply, transgender is a collective term for anyone who identifies as a gender that doesn’t match the sex that they were assigned when they were born. This broader term is much more inclusive to all individuals who have decided that the sex they were born with doesn’t match how they feel, which includes quite a lot of different identities.
Education is a basic human right that every parent, non-government sectors and government agencies must help children to attain. With this, the school has become the second home for students. Being considered the second home and spending almost half of one’s life in school, there is much responsibility towards providing the right education and instilling correct life behaviors and values in the minds of young individuals. This article will examine the role of schools in the life of the LGBTQ students.
The good and the bad
The moment children enter school, parents have tremendous fears that their children will be bullied, will get easily intimidated by bad influences, and will suffer irreversible psychological effects. Although it is expected that the school environment will help in the development of the youth’s intellectual, emotional, moral, physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions, it is also considered as an avenue or place where children can be ruined, especially if the child is known to be an LGBTQ youth. (more…)
Being an Ally: The Personal Level
If a friend, family member, or any other close person in your life confides in you that they identify as something within the LGBTQ community, it’s important that you respect them by being a good friend. Remember that they are more than likely struggling. They were probably extremely nervous to tell you, but they probably trust you. This makes it crucial to be there for them as much as possible, as they are going through a very fragile and tumultuous journey of self-realization and acceptance. Here are some tips on what to do to help a loved one who has come out to you:
Resources for LGBTQ Youth
The LGBTQ community is already a marginalized demographic. But the stress, stigma, and harassment are even worse for younger people within the community. In fact, in LGBTQ individuals from the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. LGBTQ youth are also twice as more likely to be physically assaulted in some way for their sexuality or gender identity. Fortunately, this vulnerable demographic has many resources to give individuals love, support, and opportunities to succeed. Here are some of the most helpful and well-known resources for LGBTQ youth:
Important Events: A Comprehensive Time
The LGBTQ+ community has gone through a tremendous amount of pain, but there have also been some victories along the way. Although the fight for equality is far from over, there have been some strides in addition to the setbacks. Here are some of the crucial events that have paved the road to present day:
- 1930-1940: During the Holocaust and Hitler’s reign, countless homosexuals were taken to concentration camps. They were branded by a pink triangle that was upside down to represent their unacceptable sexual habits.
- 1945: The first female to male sex change took place in Britain on Michael Dillon.
- 1948: Alfred Kinsey published the book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”, which revealed just how common homosexuality really is. Kinsey also created the Kinsey Scale, a revolutionary tool used to describe someone’s sexuality on a scale from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual.
- 1952: The American Psychiatric Association released its first list of mental disorders and illnesses, including homosexuality. In the diagnostic manual, homosexuality is described as a “sociopathic personality disturbance”.
- 1953: President Eisenhower banned homosexuals from working for the government, reasoning that they are a security threat and shouldn’t work for the federal government if they engage in what he calls “sexual perversion”.
- 1956: Evelyn Hooker approached the American Psychological Association after researching the differences between heterosexual and homosexual men in regards to their mental health. Her results showed that there were no differences in the mental stability when the two were compared.
- 1962: Illinois decriminalized homosexuality and homosexual acts (as long as it is consensual and in private), being the first state to do so.
There are countless different sexual identities and sexualities, which usually defines what gender or genders a person is attracted to. There are also different terms that define a person within the LGBTQ+ community. Although it is often called LGBT, LGBTQ+ is more inclusive to the many different sexualities that aren’t defined by just an acronym. These definitions include, but are not limited to:
- Lesbian: a woman who is physically and romantically attracted to women. (note: some lesbians may also define themselves as “gay”
- Gay: a person who is physically and romantically attracted to their same gender, though it’s usually used to describe men
- Bisexual: a person who is attracted to more than one sex (note: although it has typically been thought that bisexual people are attracted to both men and women, gender has proven that it isn’t restricted to just men and women, so this definition has been proven to be more appropriate)
- Asexual: a person who usually feels no sexual attraction and has little to no desire to have a sexual relationship (note: there are some asexuals that do have sex, as there are many different subsets of asexuality, but this is the most common definition)
- Queer: used as an umbrella term for LGBTQ+ and is used to define anyone who has a fluid gender identity or sexual orientation. Sometimes used interchangeably with the term LGBTQ+ (note: it’s important to remember that there has been a history of controversiality with this word. Do not use it to describe someone if they haven’t expressed that they accept the term, as it can be offensive to some individuals)
- Pansexual: a person who is attracted to all gender possibilities, and often are more interested in the personality than the gender. Some use it interchangeably with bisexuality, but it more accurately is focused on looking farther than gender
- Kinsey Scale: a scale created by Alfred Kinsey to define one’s sexuality on a scale of one to six. One is completely heterosexual and six is completely homosexual, making it a useful tool for bisexuality and sexual preference.
- Closeted: describes a person who isn’t open about their sexuality
- Coming Out: the process of understanding and accepting one’s self and eventually, if desired, telling others about their sexuality or gender
Understanding the Pros and Cons
Like any other major decisions, coming out should be preceded by acknowledging both the positive and the negative outcomes. It’s important to remember that with each person that you tell, there will be a different reaction. However, it’s up to you to determine whether or not you are in a safe, accepting environment. Your circumstances will warrant the best and most positive possible outcomes. With that being said, here are all of the positive outcomes of coming out to your family and friends:
- being able to be open and honest about your true self
- lifting the stress of having to hide your identity
- being able to openly be a part of the LGBTQ community and making friends who can relate to you
- creating stronger and more honest relationships by diminishing secrets about your life
- becoming a role model and example for younger LGBTQ individuals and for other people who are also in the closet